Atan is a graphic novel by local cartoonist, Ben Wong which was published back in 2014/15 by Komik-M. This book earned him the Silver Award at the 8th International Manga Award making him the only person to earn this prestigious award twice, the first being back in 2007.
Ben Wong is of course no stranger to the local comic scene. He has released a number of comics for both Komik-M and Gempak Starz, two of the major comic publishers here in Malaysia. (We will be reviewing more of his books and other comic artists soon!)
Atan was initially published in two volumes but was later released as a “Edisi Istimewa” book which contained both volumes and some bonus material. The pages were also printed in glossy art paper, ensuring that it will last you a lifetime.
The story revolves around the friendship of Hasbi and Atan (the buffalo) and their life at the kampung. It features some extraordinary artwork and an excellent story-line. Plenty of emotional moments that leave you wanting more. You’ll most likely complete the book in one sitting but do take time to enjoy all the beautiful drawings and scenery by Ben.
At the end of the book, you have some sketches of the characters in the story by Ben that give readers some insight into the drawing process. There is also a series of comics drawn by fellow comic artists congratulating him for the award.
Atan is easily one of the best graphic novels I have read and I highly recommend it to anyone. It also makes as a great story for children. I’ve been reading a few pages each night for my 6-year-old son and he is loving every moment of it.
One thing I wanted to point out was that this book is placed in the Malay comic section of major bookstores, when I last checked, making this gem hidden to tourists or anyone looking for a good Malaysian comic book. I think it should be placed in the graphic novel section alongside the Kampung Boy and many others. I am not sure if there is an English translation of this book though.
The special edition is priced at only RM24.90 and can be purchased online at Book Cafe. Alternatively, you can also purchase separate volumes at RM9.90 each but you will be missing out on the bonus material available in the special edition.
Note: This review comes perhaps two-years late but at Writelah, we review any type of movie, book or music, not necessarily just new releases. If you’d like us to feature any other books, do suggest them in the comments section.